The nation of Cambodia has endured over the past thirty years horrors such as few places have witnessed in recent times. Despite the end of the cruel Pol Pot murderers, Cambodians still have not been able to create a society in which free speech is a given, not a gift. The Cambodian human rights group, Licadho said those who seek to defend the rights of their countrymen live in dread of their lives. “Cambodia is a dangerous place for human rights defenders. Throughout 2007, the patterns of threats and attacks observed in previous years have continued and intensified.” The group said the situation now made it perilous for any lawyer who undertook defense of individual rights.
Licadho pointed out union leader Hy Vuthy was murdered and the activist monk Tim
Sakhorn was kidnapped and deported for opposing the government. When asked about Hy Vuthy’s murder, Phnom Penh’s police chief responded by saying “we know the identify of the suspects and our police are always on the alert” but for some strange reason they don’t seem too much in a hurry to arrest any suspects. No arrest warrants have ever been issued in regard to the murder.
Hopefully, one day, Cambodians can live in a society in which free speech is not an endanger species.
Several days ago we reported on the dramatic rise in marriage between poor women in Cambodia and South Korean males. Most of the South Koreans tend to come from working class backgrounds and they were seeking women who were both attractive and subservient. The government of Cambodia has decided to suspend all such marriages for the time being while it conducts an investigation. IN 2004, just 72 South Korean males married a woman from Cambodia, last year the figure rose to 1,759. A spokesperson for the Women’s Affairs Ministry, You Ay, said: “The government has temporarily suspended all (paperwork) for Cambodia women to marry foreigners.” She stated quite bluntly, “this suspension is to prevent human trafficking through marriage.”
This is one of those sensitive issues since for many of the women marrying a man from South Korea offers an opportunity to rise econonmically in the world. A key issue is whether they are entering a marriage or are they entering a form of work.